(OTTAWA, February 10) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Moose Hide Campaign Development Society (MHCDS) have signed an historic memorandum committing the two organizations to work together to end the ongoing violence against Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people.
The signing of the agreement on Tuesday, February 9 was witnessed by leaders of other national Indigenous organizations of Canada.
It is an acknowledgement that men, including Indigenous men, must be part of the solution to end what the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls determined to be a genocide.
“It is time for men to call each other out for abusive behaviours, to look inside their own hearts and examine their own actions,” said NWAC President Lorraine Whitman. “Indigenous women are resilient. But we are also vulnerable. And we need advocates. We need allies. We need the men of Canada to say it is time for this genocide to end.”
Raven Lacerte, the co-founder and ambassador of the Moose Hide Campaign, said: “Our collective efforts of ensuring this country is a safe and loving place for our precious Indigenous women is driving this connection. We realize the need for everyone to be part of the solution … We believe men and boys need to be part of the conversation in order to be part of the solutions to make this country safe for all of us.”
NWAC is the national organization that represents Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people at the grassroots level from coast to coast to coast.
The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys who are standing up against violence towards women and children.
This memorandum of understanding commits the two organizations to share information, advocate for each other, and promote each other’s work.
Despite the work of the National Inquiry, Indigenous women continue to account for 14 per cent of all female homicide victims in Canada even though they represent just 5 percent of the Canadian female population.
Meanwhile, Indigenous women are significantly more likely than non-indigenous women to report being violently abused by the men they live with, a problem that a survey conducted by NWAC suggests has increased during the current pandemic.
This grim reality has to end. NWAC and MHCDS hope this new agreement will improve the safety of the Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people of Canada.
QUOTES FROM THE LEADERS OF OTHER NATIONAL INDIGENOUS ORGANIZATIONS:
Chief RoseAnne Archibald, Ontario Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations – “It is time that we are willing to speak what is an obvious truth – that the crimes against Indigenous women are mostly committed by men. We are pleased to see, with the signing of this memorandum of agreement, that large numbers of men are accepting this fact and are standing with us to say the violence has to end. We also recognize that many of the people perpetrating these crimes are our fathers, our brothers, our cousins, and our sons. Just as we reach out to help our women who have been harmed or fear for their safety, we must reach out to the men of our communities to get them the help they need to put an end to this tragedy.”
Elmer St. Pierre, National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal People – “Violence is a reality that ALL Indigenous women face. Violence doesn’t see status, or band membership, or distinguish between living on a reserve or in a city. Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples are our family members, sisters, mothers, daughters, wives, aunties, and the heart and soul of our communities. It is happening on the streets of towns and cities across this country. No man anywhere in Canada can turn a blind eye. Every one of us has a responsibility to confront violence and the attitudes that tolerate it. This agreement makes that clear, and I am honoured to be here today to witness it.”